There are 4 things in this world that scare me – spiders, the deep sea, sambuca and heights. During my travelling stint in 2010 I tried to fix a few of these by moving to Australia. Home of some of the world’s deadliest and ugliest spiders, a place I could dive at the Great Barrier Reef and when I went to New Zealand, the “Great Lake” – Lake Taupo provided a breathtaking backdrop to fall from a plane in a 15,000ft skydive.
I was just over a week into my ride after having to stop longer than expected in Rotorua due to my first biking injury, cyclers knee. I made it to Taupo in a day and was met by the most incredible lake I had ever scene. After the visit, it would take over as my favourite lake in place of Lake Windermere in the UK. And here’s why –
It’s very tough to explain the sensation of being dragged out of a plane, tumbling about with a bloke strapped to your back trying to work out where the hell the ground is, where the plane was and then realising you are getting very far from one and much closer to the other, very quickly!
Once the pro from TTS gets you steady and in the correct position you get about 60 seconds of pure free-fall time. This means you’re travelling at about 135mph towards the earth at terminal velocity, you can go no faster. The feeling of this is unreal and pretty amazing in what it does to your body and senses. Added to that the incredible scenery on offer, it was truly out of this world. With the Tongariro Crossing on the other side of the Lake, I could see the whole boundary of the lake and the mountain range. The boats made lines in what was otherwise a deep blue reflective sheen.
Accompanied by a photographer who was taking lots of pictures and video of the skydive, all three of us hurtled down, taking silly pictures and playing rock, paper scissors. Eventually the parachute is deployed with a jolt and we mosey on down to the airfield. This was just as incredible as the dive as it meant a chilled out experience, still quite high up where I could still see the gorgeous scenery.
It isn’t for the feint hearted and if you are scared of heights, you really need to ask yourself whether you can handle it. It doesn’t magically feel less of a distance when you’re up there. If anything it feels further! My friend was a crying state before she went up, we had to calm her down and convince her to join us, after she did it, she wanted to go again.
The TTS crew we really professional and I really recommend going with them. It’s not cheap but not overly expensive. I wouldn’t want it to be too cheap either, no making cuts on this one. I opted for the photo package with exit photo, but I can’t share that with you because I look like a scared little boy!